Cologne The increasing number of corona infected is also a problem for radiologists. Because Covid-19 patients with severe breathing difficulties or even lung failure are viewed by doctors using computed tomography (CT). With this special x-ray, the doctors want to better assess the course of the respiratory disease. However, radiologists in particular, who have not yet come into contact with the virus, are often uncertain when assessing the largely unknown clinical picture.
Wieland Sommer knows the complexity of creating such findings from his own experience and has therefore developed a way to support doctors. The radiologist is the founder of the start-up Smart Reporting and offers software that, among other things, allows radiologists to document their CT findings. Part of the software is now a report template especially for Covid 19 patients, which Sommer is currently making available free of charge.
When radiologists evaluate the CT images, they can use the Smart Reporting report template on their own computer. They are guided step by step through the application and receive clinical background information, reference images, common classifications and current recommendations from the international radiology societies on Covid-19. In addition, radiologists no longer write the findings in free text, but can use pre-made text modules.
The template for Covid 19 patients is one of many templates that Sommer developed together with doctors and IT specialists from his company Smart Reporting. “I am convinced that the medicine of the future is also a data science,” says Sommer. According to the company, more than 10,000 radiologists from over 90 countries worldwide use the smart reporting templates.
And it shouldn’t stop there: Smart Reporting has now collected 15 million euros for the further growth plans. This emerges from a communication that is available to the Handelsblatt. The Munich venture capitalist Yabeo is the lead investor. In the past, Smart Reporting already secured growth capital of 6.5 million euros as part of a first round of financing.
Basis for algorithms
In addition to the technological approach, Yabeo investor Matthias Sohler also won over the sales concept of Smart Reporting. “The great thing about smart reporting – in addition to the technology platform and medical expertise – is the pronounced diversification of the sales channel: that large companies like Agfa, General Electric or Siemens takes a B2B2C approach. ”If a hospital purchases a new CT device from one of the medical technology manufacturers mentioned, the Smart Reporting template can be included in the delivery.
With the fresh capital, Smart Reporting now wants to grow quickly. An expansion to the US market is planned, and reports for oncologists and cardiologists will soon be available. “In 2025, we calculate sales of more than 100 million euros,” says Sohler. In addition to radiologists, the company already offers its services to pathologists.
Prior to founding his company, Sommer had acquired expertise abroad: studied medicine in Heidelberg, Madrid and Berlin; Assistant doctor positions in radiology in Lausanne and Munich; Master’s degree in public health from Harvard University. Shortly before he founded Smart Reporting as a spin-off from a research project in December 2014, he was appointed professor of radiology at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich.
Back then, he was surprised that “big data” was spoken of everywhere. The basis for this – standardized documentation – was not given at all. The 40-year-old has a bold goal: Findings should become the standard for all medical documentation. Not only do other doctors benefit from this because they can understand the entries made by colleagues directly.
Standardized data is also machine-readable and can train artificial intelligence. “We work with a large university hospital to develop algorithms, but that is currently not our core business. We offer the infrastructure, others train the algorithms, ”says Sommer.
The business area is therefore also attractive for other companies, such as the Heidelberg company Mint Medical, a spin-off from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), or the French company Keydiag, which was founded in 2018.
“With the increasingly complex radiological imaging and increasing number of examinations in the daily workflow, the structured diagnosis will become even more important,” says Jens Vogel-Claussen. He is a senior physician at the Institute of Radiology at the Hannover Medical School and has chaired the “Thorax Diagnostics” working group at the German X-ray Society.
Smart Reporting founder Sommer has some supporters in his vision: In addition to co-managing director Johannes Huber, there are around 30 investors, including Wolfgang Reitzle, chairman of the supervisory board the DaxCorporations Linde and Continental. Sommer’s father is also a partner in the company, and he is also a radiologist.
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